Years ago the Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, NY, was a closed unconnected property, no telephones in public areas, no TV, no connections to the outside world were allowed while the races took place.
The times they are a changing albeit it slowly, at all three New York race tracks, Belmont, Aqueduct and our favorite, Saratoga, in beautiful Saratoga Springs, NY.
It is no secret that the Saratoga horse racing is the busiest time of year and this Saratoga Springs hotel prides itself on offering guests a true Saratoga experience. Saratoga Springs is home to the oldest race course in North America, that celebrated 150 years in 2013.
With a rare exception, a racing season reservation at Saratoga Arms includes plans for at least one visit to the race track. Track knowledge can range from “There’s a race track in Saratoga????” to the enthusiast who knows the inside way to get to the coveted box seats. Most lie somewhere in between.
We get many calls from “first-timers” looking to take part in the racing experience and they have lots of questions
And they’re off!! The 150th season of racing is officially under way and the celebration in Saratoga Springs is heating up. Coming up on August 2nd will be a Saratoga 150 event not to miss…the Floral Fete Promenade and Congress Park Ice Cream Social.
Health. History. Horses. It is those three words that greet all who enter Saratoga Springs, and it is those three words (coincidentally and conveniently all starting with the letter “H”) that capture the spirit of this great town. Of course, special emphasis will be placed on the third “H” (Horses), since this summer marks the sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) of racing at the Saratoga Race Course.
To celebrate, there are numerous events planned from May through September. One in particular that is worth noting is the equestrian film festival slated for June 11-‐13. Presented by Skidmore College and The Saratoga Film Forum, this special presentation will be held at Skidmore’s Arthur Zankel Music Center. Typically used for musical performances, this beautifully designed and acoustically-‐tuned venue will be no less fitting for these screenings.
First, Tuesday, June 11 at 7:30 pm will have a screening of Seabiscuit. Set during the Great Depression, this film tells the true story of the horse that reached unexpected greatness in the racing world, and became a symbol of hope to many Americans. Nominated in 2003 for seven Academy awards (including Best Picture), Seabiscuit stars Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, and Elizabeth Banks.
Following on Wednesday, June 12 at 7:30 pm will be a screening of Secretariat. Chronicling the life of the first thoroughbred race horse to win The Triple Crown in 25 years (as of 1973), this film depicts the struggle that Secretariat’s owner (Penny Chenery) faced from the foreign and male-‐dominated world of horse racing in order to foster a champion. Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, Secretariat stars Diane Lane and John Malkovich.
Last but not least will be a screening of Saratoga on Thursday, June 13 at 7:30 pm. Originally released in 1937 when Seabiscuit was actually racing, this romantic comedy film stars Clark Gable (who went on to star in Gone with the Wind) as bookie Duke Bradley, who acquires the deed to a stud farm in lieu of the gambling debts of Frank Clayton. He soon meets Frank’s daughter Carol Clayton (Jean Harlow), and develops an eye for her despite her recent engagement to another man. Despite Harlow’s sudden death of kidney failure during the making of Saratoga, it went on to be MGM’s biggest moneymaker of 1937.
Both Seabiscuit and Saratoga had portions filmed in Saratoga Springs. Following the June 13 screening, there will be a talk by Saratoga Film Forum local historians and history teachers, Dave Patterson and Charlie Kuenzel, about the role of Saratoga and the track in classic American films.
Admission is FREE with a Saratoga 150 Lapel Medallion or a Saratoga ARTSFEST pass, otherwise general admission can be purchased for $5. For more information about this event and many others taking place throughout the summer please visit Saratoga 150.
Our city has a big Winter Weekend coming up and Saratoga Arms, Saratoga’s luxury hotel is right in the middle of it all! The weekend of February 3-5, 2012 is designed to fend off those winter blahs.
Something’s Brewing at Saratoga Arms, the city’s finest boutique hotel. We are hosting the first of four Ultimate Bed and Brew Weekends beginning Friday, February 3. With the craft beer enthusiast in mind and a nod to beer and food connoisseurs, Saratoga Arms together with the Olde Saratoga Brewing Company and Sperry’s Restaurant, has designed a package that from start to finish will give you a beer experience that you will talk about for a long time to come. Participate in a behind the scenes tour of our local brewery with beer samplings and end with a gourmet beer pairing meal under the direction of Master Chef Dale Miller at renowned Sperry’s Restaurant. This Saratoga Bed and Breakfast has it all planned out just for you. Meet other beer enthusiasts and sample homebrewed or regional craft beers. Take home specially selected souvenirs of the weekend and maybe a six-pack of locally brewed beer.
We have Beer Weekend guests from last year who had such a great time that they are returning this year with friends and neighbors. They plan to make it an annual event.
As an added bonus this same weekend is the 14th Annual Saratoga Springs Chowderfest and Winter Festival. On February 4th more than 35 fabulous local restaurants throughout the city will participate in putting forth their very best chowder recipes for you to sample and judge. There will be wine tastings, live music and plenty of photo ops. Post your pics on our facebook page. See what’s in store in the video below:
Come for the chowder and stay for the beer or the other way around…just come. It’s two events wrapped up in a great winter weekend in Saratoga Springs. Saratoga Arms has a room ready for you and of course there is the breakfast…. ah the breakfast, homemade muffins, hot-from-the-kitchen omelets… but that is for another blog for another day.
Saratoga Springs is the summer place to be. And many flock to this wonderful upstate New York town to see the thoroughbred racing at the Saratoga Race Course. But what can you do if you don’t bet? We have come up with our Top-10 list of great Things To Do at the track even if you’re not a gambler:
1-People watch - Saratoga is the place for fancy hats and people dressed to the nines. You could get lost all day in watching the festive crowds.
2-Dress up or not - Do you want to get all dressed up in your finest clothes and have a seat in the Clubhouse, or are you interested in wearing shorts and sitting at a picnic table with a cooler? The great thing about the Saratoga races is that you can do both, although preferably not on the same day.
3-Play the name game, the color game, or the number game - While you may not be a gambler, it’s always fun to get caught up in the most exciting 2 minutes in sports. You don’t have to be a horse handicapper, as we’ve noticed that sometimes the biggest winners are those who know nothing about horse racing! Just play what you know – favorite number is 9, favorite color is yellow and diamonds are a favorite jewel. Put $10 across the board on the number 9 and who knows, you might come home a winner.
4-Spot a celebrity - Saratoga has been known to have the cast from The Sopranos in the winner’s circle. A certain cast member from Entourage owns a share in a Saratoga restaurant and a certain former NY Giants coach is seen at the track throughout the meet. Who can you spot?
5-Great Music - There’s a different musical act out in the general admission area each racing day. And who knows, you could kick up your feet as well.
6-Sample the Food and Drink - From the famous fried chicken from local favorite (and winner of the Bobby Flay Throwdown competition) Hattie’s, to famous NYC restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack, there’s something for everyone’s appetite. And don’t forget the Saratoga Race Track’s signature cocktail, The Saratoga Sunrise. It’s a perfect thirst quencher for a summer day.
7-View the Paddock Area - Want to see these horses a bit closer up? The paddock area is where the horses get saddled, the jockeys are given final instructions from their trainers and you can get a first glimpse of the horses prior to the race.
8-Get a Jockey’s Autograph - These athletes are quite accessible after their race. They dismount their horses at the finish line and walk through the crowd back towards the Jockey quarters. Do you have a little one at home that would love an autograph? The jockeys are usually quite accommodating. Hint: pick the winning jockey and ask them to sign the race page of your program.
9-Sample the Big Red Spring - Our upstate city is known for having curative spring water. There are many free-flowing springs within the downtown area and the Saratoga Spa State Park. And there’s also one within the Race Course grounds. On the far side of the paddock is the Big Red Spring. Bring a cup, take a sip…maybe your aches and pains will subside.
10-Cross it off your Bucket List - Sports Illustrated named the Saratoga Race Course one of the Top 10 sporting venues of the 20th century. We couldn’t agree more!
Have you made your booking? Come see why Saratoga is called “The Summer Place To Be” while you enjoy your stay at Saratoga Arms!
Last Sunday, while watching 60 Minutes, we were surprised to hear Andy Rooney go on and on and on about Saratoga Springs, NY and the Saratoga Racecourse. Usually that is not a good thing, but Andy spoke about the great affection he has for Saratoga and horseracing in general. It’s a nice story. See for yourself.
Marta Glazen of Cleveland, Ohio, won the 19th annual Saratoga Hat Contest, on Sunday, July 25, 2010, in Saratoga Springs. She took first place and won a silver plate trophy, clubhouse lunch for two and a $500 betting voucher. Marta was a guest at Saratoga Arms and “wowed” all of our breakfast guests when she came down from her room ready to head out to the track. This is the second year in a row that Marta has won the contest. Marta is a professional though…She owns a hat shop in Ohio!!
I wrote a few months back about a little horse that ran in Saratoga last summer. The horse’s name is Dublin and he won that race. I also speculated that he would run in the Kentucky Derby, which is being held tomorrow. Dublin is certainly running tomorrow, one in a big field of 20. Well I just checked the current odds and it seems like Dublin will need a bit of the “Luck of the Irish” because he is currently 20-1. Current favorite…Lookin at Lucky. Seems as though there might be a lot of “lucky” running around Churchill Downs tomorrow.
In the early part of last year’s racing season, Kathleen took two Irish girls from Ballybunion, County Kerry, who were working at the hotel for the summer to the races. They put a sentimental bet on a young horse with good odds named “Dublin” and were handsomely rewarded when the horse won. At the end of the Saratoga meet, Dublin won the Hopeful Stakes. Now D. Wayne Lucas is talking about running Dublin in the Kentucky Derby. I bet Paddy Power will take a few more sentimental bets.